Procrastination No More: Practical Strategies for Students on How to Stop Delaying

Procrastination No More: Practical Strategies for Students on How to Stop Delaying
Jordana Bozhinova
Jordana Bozhinova

Last updated - March 28, 2024

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Speedometers implode when you’re racing friends — you’re as fast as a premature toot. But not in college settings. You’re as bright as a crow, the Nikola Tesla of your generation. There’s an entire lamp post, not a lightbulb, levitating above your head — the obviousness of your wits is obviously super cranked up. Still, it takes you forever to “wire” to study materials.

The drive to dip all edibles in garlic salsa never leaves you, even if it means your hot date will. But in the classroom, you lack all the motivation in the world. What lies behind such polarities? And, more importantly, have you asked yourself how to stop procrastinating in college?

What Is Procrastination?

According to psychology professor Fuschia Sirois, procrastination is an unnecessary and voluntary delay of tasks that are often important to us. That said, we procrastinate despite being aware of the negative consequences of doing so. But does that mean that procrastinators are loafers with their feet up, eyeing the world through their thigh gaps?

Fortunately, that’s not the case. Procrastinating doesn’t have to mean you’re lazy. However, it is closely tied to feelings of overwhelmingness and anxiety, which, unfortunately, tend to spike up because of procrastination. And sometimes, even boredom can make you run away from assignments, as we’ll see in the next section.

Why Do People Procrastinate?

Many things can influence your choice of being in a seemingly feel-good state of inactivity. It can be that you aren’t sure how to begin tackling a particular task. The task in question can also be challenging, making you doubt your ability to complete it. Or you might think of it as a Gordian knot that will take forever to untangle, demotivating you to even try.

It can also happen that you’re deliberately procrastinating to improve your GPA. Do you think that you work better under stress? Well, there is your answer. But is that a good strategy for turning a lousy semester around or turning yourself into a barely educated puddle of sweat?

Procrastinating simply doesn’t cut it, no matter how you look at it. That said, you must call its bluff.

Top 10 Tips to Stop Procrastination

Unsurprisingly, procrastinators earn lower grades. They also experience more stress, which has some negative side effects. Luckily, you can stop prepping for finals at the eleventh hour. Here’s how to stop procrastinating in college once and for all!

1. Admit That You Procrastinate, Talk to Yourself

Just strut to the spotty mirror in your dorm hallway, tiled in questionable shoes. You’ve been planning to clean that piece of reflective glass for years, but that last spot looks Jackson Pollock fab. So, maybe later.

But it’s always “maybe later,” isn’t it? And those shoes are getting a little see-through. Where’s the panic button?

Overcoming procrastination starts with facing yourself and your detrimental cleaning, apparel maintenance, and bigger life decisions.

Look into that mirror, and be honest with yourself. Admit that you procrastinate, and let this confession flow through you. Then, ask yourself which thoughts or feelings are behind your problem. This attempt at getting in touch with it will stir up something in you and possibly make you want to do something about it.

2. Set Deadlines As If It’s a Hobby of Yours

Planning ahead keeps everything bad in its shed. And when you’re inclined to procrastinate, a lil’ bit of schedule-making can help you be somewhat better at navigating life. It’s excellent for task prioritization, at least!

We’d even go as far as stating that setting deadlines counts among the best motivation techniques. It helps to know the exact times and dates your butt might go on fire should you nail it to the sofa and bum around for days.

Of course, such a schedule must always be within your reach. That’s simply for precaution against the temptation of ignoring the sheet of paper if tossed at a distant corner, nothing else. If you can see it, you can use it. And if you can use it, college life might get a bit easier.

3. Define Your Goals, But Ensure They’re Realistic, Too

Some of your plans might work out in their due time. Others, when piglets fly. Dotting out all the deadlines you must meet will take you so far. If you want to stop procrastinating, keeping it real is key.

Of course, wishful thinking can clog your sense of what you can and cannot achieve in a given timeframe, especially when you’re in the grip of the challenges voluntary delay poses. Also, being aware of all your options, including the harder-to-achieve ones, can broaden your perspective. But you can, in fact, set realistic goals and entertain your big mind simultaneously.

To do that, divide all forthcoming activities into chunks. And no, you shouldn’t have the smaller assignments lined up first and the super time-consuming ones left to be dealt with last. That’s a veteran procrastinator’s move, but it will destroy you academically.

4. Eliminate Any Distractions in Your Study Environment

Hilarious reels, annoying roommates, hot crushes, books with chopped-off pages, fresh gossip, addicting board games, long-neck giraffes. Sometimes it feels like everything that’s out there exists to distract you!

The good news, however, is you can do it. The bad one is that you must toughen up and show your teeth to engaging trivia as the thick-skinned, mean-faced Viking you are.

Once you eliminate (almost) all distractions that can interfere with your study habits, you’re in for the time of your life. Well, of your academic one, at least. Only then will you be able to actually retain the info laid out for you in textbooks, go through the notes you took in class, and focus on everything nerdy but necessary. 

5. Work With Dedication, But Only When You Can Be Efficient

Do the early sun rays face-smack you hard enough to get you out of bed, ready to grind tasks? Or is a fine coffee blend your go-to energizer? You already know this answer. However, if you’re wondering how to stop procrastinating in college, you’ll have to give it some serious attention.

Whatever that answer is, don’t try to alter it. Do not deceive yourself that you can leave your blankie cocoon at 5 a.m. if all you can do that early is suck on your thumb for sweeter dreams. Likewise, leave your homework for later in the day only if you can keep your eyes open at low light. 

Of course, there will be hits and misses until you can settle for a suitable routine. But if you appreciate the feeling of not failing your classes, you’ll find one that works.

6. Pick a Comfy Study Location Suitable For Your Needs

When trying to stop procrastinating, your goal is to find a study location that prevents you from indulging in this practice and is suitable for your college routine. In fact, a common trap to avoid is settling for a place that reeks of procrastination.

Overcrowded, messy desks will make your brain dive in and out of piles of files. Therefore, you might want to reconsider if you must drive to your study nook in a trash truck with a cleaning person in the passenger’s seat.

Likewise, your bedroom is not the best place to study for a passing grade. It’s too easy to slide your head down the sleeping pillow for an unplanned 12-hour pre-exam nap!

The learning environment you’re in can help you stay on excellent terms with teachers or waste your precious time. Ultimately, it itself shouldn’t be the thing you end up studying.

7. Get Help With Challenging Assignments

Even if you pick an excellent study location, that won’t change the fact that some assignments are more challenging than others. However, when there’s help, there’s hope.

You might not be aware of it, but your classmates are an infinite source of support. And when bits of a lecture make it too challenging to process, you can always ask for their help. It’s way better than grinding your teeth over an essay that’s not coming together, for example.

Therefore, once you feel like you might want to delay a task for later and later, call a fellow student. They’ll provide you with notes and sit with you through your academic struggles. But don’t misuse their goodwill and make them do your homework for you! It’s your mountain to move.

8. Fight the Urge to Slip Back Into Old Habits By Becoming More Accountable

Leave your food in the microwave for too long, and force-feed yourself 100% burnt crispy crisps. Get it out of there too early, and dislocate your jaw chewing on a raw dish. This is why you must know when to press the stop button. And likewise, you must learn to sense when your bad study habits are trying to pull you in. 

Overcoming laziness or other factors that might contribute to your procrastination can be a nightmare if you don’t even bother doing better in this regard. If you can’t catch the sweet before it hits the fan, you’re headed toward failure.

However, you stand a chance if you’re determined to escape your vicious cycle. And if you can at least make your bed and stick your head inside your backpack in search of yesterday’s class notes, you’re already on the right track.

9. Take A Deserved Break to Relax

Committing to a better study approach goes hand in hand with allowing yourself to take breaks when necessary. All that grinds must unwind, we guess. Okay, that was a strange one, but you get the point.

So, letting your books stay under the sofa for a while is entirely okay. As long as you intend to get back to them later, you can use this time to see your friends, have some fun, or do nothing.

But there’s a disclaimer the size of Mount Everest that comes together with your right to chillax: you can’t let yourself slip into the P-thing! Otherwise, scientists will be naming a fifth season after your months-long pause.

10. Acknowledge Your Success, and Reward Yourself

Put in some effort and then congratulate yourself. Go the extra mile to meet your deadlines, and reward your dedication later. It’s a hit-the-gas-then-hit-the-breaks situation. Make sure you’re not ping-ponging yourself between the seat and windshield, though!

The metaphor here is pretty straightforward. You want to keep things balanced and sail smoothly without sea sickness. So, study a bit and then eat a bar of chocolate. It’s all about finding an equilibrium between work and fun and not using the rewards to procrastinate.

And sweet delights don’t need to be your only source of joy after a long day flipping pages. You can treat yourself to a new piece of clothing, go to a concert, or do whatever is synonymous with recharging your batteries and battling procrastination with entertainment.

11. Bonus Tip: Have fun, Eat Well, and Deal With Stress Efficiently

As we already said, fun is not something you should close yourself to while being a college student. In fact, this is the time to have a blast, make new friendships, and expand your horizons!

And you don’t want to do all that while following a strict diet that lets you consume a maximum of two calories per day. Staging in touch with new acquaintances will be hard if your belly frog choir is making everyone experience the horror of standing on a busy, noisy highway! 

Jokes aside, you must eat well to remain healthy. Likewise, you should know how to cope with stress and take proper care of your mental health. 

Whatever you do in life, do not forget to live and invest in your well-being. That’s the key to solving all problems, including those related to procrastination.

Delay Your Financial Goals No More!

Nothing is impossible when you are willing to do it. Of course, having the right tools to use in the process also matters. Addressing procrastination starts with your determination and willingness to get back on your feet if you fail in your intentions; new beginnings can be challenging, after all! It also starts with developing a good strategy and tackling this issue from different angles. 
As a college student, achieving financial independence might also be on your to-do list. Yes, you can be trying to understand how to stop procrastinating in college while making cash! All you need to do is check out the Pawns app. It can help you boost your income through paid surveys and bandwidth sharing, meaning you won’t have to do much to earn some money. Doing little and getting paid for it is not what we’d call lazy!

Jordana Bozhinova
Jordana Bozhinova


Once an eighth-grade chemistry whiz, Jordana is now a BA in Psychology, hoping to one day tread through the fine weave of the psyche professionally. Chemistry still excites her, but not more than physics or music. Personal growth and authenticity are always on her to-do list, and she'd like to see the world's pendulum swing in that direction, too. A fan of creativity and innovation, Jordana enjoys learning, understanding, and chic clothes. Who says self-exploration can't be fabulous?

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